John Richardson writes: Re. “Rundle: humble credit card now a political tool … just ask WikiLeaks” (yesterday, item 1). Nothing surprises me when it comes to the Yanks. Anyone who has had their account “frozen” by PayPal will know what kind of crummy, two-bit carpetbagger outfit it is.

PayPal will freeze your account on the basis that you might have a similar or identical name to an individual whose name allegedly appears on an unspecified list, produced and controlled by unspecified parties.

To “unfreeze” your account, PayPal demand that you fax to its “Compliance Department” in Omaha a copy of photographic identification (passport/driver’s licence) that contains your date of birth, along with a copy of a utility bill verifying your address (this simply to allow you to use them as a clearing house for a bank-issued credit card transaction).

My experience can be found here for those with nothing better to do, however, suffice to say, I told PayPal to get stuffed and added the organisation, along with their parent company, e-bay, to my own blacklist.

I long ago learnt that the best way to influence the behaviour of such organisations is simply to put your wallet back in your pocket and go elsewhere …

And, for anyone holding out hope that the ACCC might save the day, I need only point out that with petrol prices hovering about a $1.50 a litre, my earlier decision to add the ACCC to my blacklist would also seem to have been vindicated.

Niall Clugston writes: The WikiLeaks saga could be summed up quite simply:

  1. The American diplomatic cables that WikiLeaks leaked were not earth-shattering. Let’s not forget, the most waves were created by one criticising Gaddafi!
  2. More significant material, such as the Palestinian Papers, has been ignored.
  3. Newspapers such as The Guardian, The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age are equally culpable for publishing the cables as WikiLeaks. In fact, in the internet age, critics who mention “WikiLeaks” by name are equally guilty of disseminating the supposedly damaging information. In the words of the WW2 slogan: “loose lips sink ships”.
  4. If an issue involves the internet, commentators will claim it is a turning point in world history. It almost certainly isn’t.
  5. Julian Assange will probably never be charged with s-x crimes in Sweden.

Loss leading:

Gavin Robertson writes: Re. “ACCC eyes APN as the domain of cut-price real estate ads” (yesterday, item 18). Where on earth do you get the idea that loss leading as a marketing ploy was “pioneered by global coffee behemoth Starbucks”?

I can recall only too well the supermarket wars of the 1970s in Britain where bread, milk, baked beans and other dietary staples were being sold at ludicrously low prices by the major retailers in an attempt to buy market share, and I’m sure they weren’t the first.

The earliest reference in Wikipedia is to an example from 1910, well before Johnny-come-lately Starbucks (founded 1971) started using the practice.

Shooting the messenger:

Martyn Smith writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday, item 13). Richard Farmer was again at his sage-like best when he read the mind of Tanya Plibersek and congratulated Graham Richardson on his comments about the government.

Richardson had a point of course. A Liberal Party spinner couldn’t have put them any better.

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